Cathi’s Comments for December 31, 2008
As I spend the last few hours of the year 2008 having a quiet evening in – just us and the kids -I am appreciating the contrast between the end of this year and how incredibly busy and difficult it has been. Not just personally, but in our country and the world. I am sure there are many that are happy to see the back end of this long dark year.
As much as it was difficult, there were some major strides made here. I got my level B in French, finished another university course and got an A, worked on a book and got that out, Jim and I started a business, and I’m working on getting my Off Air book out as well as a hard cover version of my poetry book out on Lulu. I haven’t had the money to start my next university course but that did have the advantage of being able to work on my writing, something I’ve missed doing. One of the highlights certainly was the sale of the house in Mississauga and daughter and ex moving close by. They’ve been here a month and it has been a true pleasure knowing I can drop by if I need to and having the weekend trade off of kids again.
Much as the world saw the righting of excesses and the start of a recession, my own financial world suffered through getting stuck with expenses not my own. It is a very scary thing indeed to be a couple of days away from losing hydro, and to have people show up at the door serving papers for being a cosigner I didn’t think I still was. I’m still considering a class action suit on the cosigner thing (why do cosigners never find out there’s a problem until it’s too late and there’s a black mark on your credit rating? And why don’t banks honour letters from lawyers saying someone isn’t a cosigner anymore?). My other thought is the fact that if Hydro cuts off your power or you receive 2 disconnection notices, they will impose a 2 1/2 times your highest bill penalty to hold for how long? Until they say so. My first thought is hydro should be considered an essential service and should not be cut off except in dire circumstances (how about non payment for six months or more instead of late for 3 weeks). Second, following Peter De Wolf’s case against Bell Expressvu and their late payment administration fee that he won (but of course is under appeal at the moment), such horrendous fees should be illegal. The hydro by the way was as a result of me helping out a friend by letting them use our garage for carpentry. Who knew that a few tools and a heater could rack up over a $1000 on a bill? More than once? Um, I do now, and that was the end of my RRSP. Sigh. I’m still stuck paying for stuff I shouldn’t from somebody else (who isn’t Jim in case anybody is wondering) so Jim and I work 4 jobs. The last year I’ve been doing night time janitorial work which is shitty (pun intended), but on the upside, I’ve nearly lost all the weight I gained quitting smoking. Janitorial work isn’t the most pleasant of jobs but it is quiet, and the nice thing about that is janitors by and large are invisible which, after a long day doing full time work with often times cranky clients, invisible is a good feeling. I hate the amount of time it eats up in my evenings though so my aim this year is to make enough money elsewhere so I can stop doing that. I will be looking for more money in better ways, and with great hope that at least some of it will come from my creative endeavors.
Speaking of creative endeavors, it was great to have the opportunity to take glass blowing with Jim (his Christmas present to me) from Chris Van Zanten. He has a studio in a wonderful spot in Pakenham and I do hope that time and money will allow us to continue on with taking this very interesting skill. It is a lot harder than it looks but is a wonderful feeling to create something from molten glass and have it work out. He also gives stained glass lessons which I will definitely take whenever he starts giving them out of his studio. I started, but didn’t finish the Nanowrimo this year but then again I was busy with helping with the move from Mississauga that month. I helped them find their new place since ex was busy packing and stuff, and then spent the last week there helping them move and to sign the papers. The good news on that is I am no longer a co-owner of the house, but the bad news was that I didn’t get everything I was supposed to from it. So I still wait for my full portion, but it was a little help on my situation and a new start for ex and daughter.
One happy event with the world money market melt-down was the falling gas prices. I have very much appreciated that, let me tell you! To go from $1.40 a liter to around 60 cents makes a huge difference and I do hope that they will stay low for some time to come. Interest rates are another thing, and while my own financial crisis led to my mortgage renewal offer being a bit on the high side for a 5 year fixed rate, I settled for the variable interest one, risky yes, but I was happy that they renewed it at all after all the nonsense that has happened on my credit record. Anyway that’s turned out in my favour since the interest rates have plummeted. Now I hope that the government will see to it that interest rates being charged on the various credit cards are looked at because in this time there is absolutely no reason for any credit card to charge 25% but one of mine does (thankfully a small one) and that one of course I’ve stopped using. My plan this year is to keep the overdrafts empty and the line of credit as well, so that I am not bouncing cheques by accident or paying ridiculous bank fees. Barring any more emergencies I trust I can do that. A lot depends on whether ex gets a job so I won’t be paying for stuff that I have been, and I’m sure that’ll happen; the job situation here is much better than in the Toronto area for him.
This has been a year of corrections on many fronts, again both politically (in the US) and in terms of people’s relationships. It has been a sad year for some of my friends but it seems to me the universe is forcing things that aren’t working to end so that what should be will be. Thankfully for us, we’re still okay and I am happy to have good friends around me as well.
So what do I see in the year ahead? Well, I’m thinking that on the world stage things won’t be getting much more bright yet; the corrections will force everyone to look more closely at what is necessary and how we treat our fellow man and that to me would be a good thing. There is no room for “my way or the highway” thinking anymore. Greed and selfishness that has been prevalent since the early 1980s has to stop given what it has done to the world economy. The election of Barak Obama in the US is a sign that once great nation is fed up with the destructive policies of Bush and his cronies. The world cannot be run by religious zealots, and we must, all of us, be more accepting of the differences of peoples, and to be more compassionate. I know I sound like a broken record about compassion, but how I wish I could have my own people accept my situation and look at us as who we really are instead of who some think we are (and sadly, those opinions are wrong but I haven’t been able to stomach the insults to try to correct that). Oh well. I have my children, Jim, and some very good friends and that to me makes my world special.
Here’s to a much better new year, and for everyone I hope their wishes for a brighter future come true. For me, well, here’s to more learning, creating, and growth.
À la prochaine,